The Design of Personal Branding
Have you ever looked at something and thought “oh wow, that is SO ____”? Is your style or aesthetic so uniquely you that even little things make friends think of something you would buy? My personal taste tends to lean towards this year’s Michael’s Halloween decor - spooky, black, and relatively femme.
I’m that New Yorker with only 2 or 3 items of clothing that aren’t black or grey. Honestly it started with me being a really lazy dresser. I hated hunting for things that went together. For years, my work wardrobe consisted of clothes covered in paint. Something comfortable and durable, clean but always a mess. When I started transitioning to a job that meant I was less likely to be up to my elbows in weird goo all day, I suddenly had to think about what I was wearing (Also I hated the subway comments of “ooh are you an ARTIST?” and “did you get any on the wall?” I can only roll my eyes so loudly). So I quit and picked the color that I liked best - black.
But how do you translate a color into a style - let alone a brand? When starting to think about how I was going to attack my job hunt post graduating from a design bootcamp, the first thing I thought about was my portfolio. I approached it like I would any branding exercise - visually! I made a moodboard.
As you are currently reading this on my website - I hope you can see how I’ve translated this inspiration into reality. In a few recent discussions with other designers in the industry, one mentioned that my portfolio could use a bit more color. Just one to draw people in and to use as a call to action within my case studies and other bits. I opened up my website and scrolled, trying to view my portfolio through the eyes of someone not me, through the eyes of my users. When I do user testing and research, I take all those opinions and boil them down - really synthesize them. Was there one user out of 10 who really hated that one button? Did 8 of them comment on the layout and what they enjoyed or didn’t about it? Why was I rolling this one comment over in my head like it was the most important one? Usually I’d take note and see if any other users said anything later, but this note...a note about color...really stuck.
As I chewed on it, it dawned on me - lack of color is my THING. It’s the thing all my friends comment on. It’s the style that I feel most comfortable in. I want to wrap myself up in the color black, design all my spaces as a monochromatic zen, and my portfolio is an extension of me. In my work you can see I am certainly not afraid of color, but when I represent myself I want everyone to think “oh wow, that is SO Charlotte.” Next time you catch me in public, I hope you know that I’ll keep wearing all black, complete with black lipstick (as soon as I can find one that doesn’t rub off...crossing my fingers for the Beauty Bakerie I have in the mail) under my black mask, and a portfolio to match.